The Los Angeles Kings have clinched a playoff spot and don’t have anywhere to go in the Western Conference standings, but they’re not ending the regular season in ideal form.
They’ll try to salvage a win in the finale of a four-game road trip Thursday night in Edmonton before heading home to close the regular season Saturday against Anaheim, which they now know will not be a preview for a first-round clash with the Ducks.
Los Angeles (45-28-7) is winless in three straight after Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss at Calgary. It recovered from a 3-0 deficit with goals from Jarret Stoll, Anze Kopitar and Dwight King, but wasn’t able to turn a 44-18 shot advantage into a victory.
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Los Angeles has totaled five goals on the losing streak.
"Obviously, you want to win," King told the team’s official website. "You want to be playing better at the start of the game. That’s something we can take from the game. Obviously, now it’s behind us. We know what start we need to have and move forward."
After the loss, the Kings learned they’ll play San Jose in the first round of the playoffs after the Sharks fell to the Ducks to hand them the Pacific Division title.
Jonathan Quick made 15 saves against the Flames and lost for the third time in four games. He’s been much more successful against Edmonton with a 6-0-2 record, 1.22 goals-against average and .949 save percentage since Jan. 15, 2012.
Backup Martin Jones could start on the second of back-to-back nights for the Kings. He shut out Edmonton with 24 saves while filling in for an injured Quick on Dec. 17.
The Kings have won all three meetings with the Oilers (28-43-9) this season, including a 4-2 victory in Edmonton on March 9, and are 11-1-2 in the series since Dec. 23, 2010.
Jeff Carter had two goals and an assist in the meeting last month and has 11 points on a seven-game point streak in the series.
The Oilers are 1-1-0 midway through a four-game homestand to end the season. Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Colorado ended a two-game winning streak.
"It was perplexing to say the least," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "On our last road trip and our last game here against Anaheim, we were dialed in, each and every guy.
"Tonight we just couldn’t get our legs and get into the rhythm of the game. The biggest thing for me was it was almost like we couldn’t work because we couldn’t make two passes in a row. Our execution was just terrible tonight."
Forward David Perron continued his career-best scoring season with his 28th goal while center Sam Gagner and defenseman Philip Larsen assisted. Perron has scored in consecutive games and Gagner has a three-game point streak.
In goal, Ben Scrivens allowed four or more goals for the fourth time in six starts, a 2-4-0 stretch with a 3.94 GAA and .885 save percentage. Scrivens won’t play against his former team.
Viktor Fasth will start against the Kings as the two Oilers goaltenders audition for next season. Fasth is 3-2-1 with a 2.68 GAA and .907 save percentage since being acquired from Anaheim at the trade deadline. Fasth faced Los Angeles three times a season ago, compiling a 1-2-0 record with a 2.95 GAA and .888 save percentage.